We talk a lot about knowing how you would respond in a wide variety of incidents. A reader experienced a high-stress event and wanted to share his experience and the lessons he learned from it. He sent this post in, and we thought you might want to read it.
When my phone rang at 2:30 am Sunday, I expected it to be the hospital operator. But my next-door neighbor's name popped up. It must be some kind of medical emergency, I thought. Then I answered.
‘Please help me. Someone is trying to break down my back door,' Jason said breathlessly. ‘I've already called the police.' The abject terror in his voice was palpable.
‘I'll be right there,' I reassured him.
I briefly considered my weapon choice. The M4? The AR? No, both are in the gun safe. Retrieving them would cost me time. Jason has a wife, a newborn, and two school-age children. Time was critical. Instead, I slid the Fort Knox safe out from under the bed, unlocked it, and grabbed my home defense pistol.
‘What's going on?' my wife asked.
We went to the back door after I told her, turned on the floodlights, let the dog out, and walked onto my back porch. I had a clear view of Jason's back door.
Rex jumped on top of the retaining wall and started barking.
I activated the Streamlight and saw a 20 something white male with dark hair and beard, dressed in a rumpled suit. He had just finished kicking the bottom of the door and was bent over selecting a rock, undoubtedly getting ready to smash the glass.
The dog got his attention. He is a hound dog with a pleasant baritone voice.
‘Is there a wedding here?' He asked, a bit too loudly as I covered him with the light.
‘No. There is no wedding. You are at someone's house. It's 2 am. The cops are on the way. You need to walk to the road,' I instructed him.
‘Which way is that?'
‘I can't see you,' He said. ‘I'm here for the wedding.'
‘Walk that way,' I said and motioned with the light.
‘To my left?” He asked.
‘Yes, to your left,' I confirmed.
Once I realized he was not an immediate threat and was going to comply, I went inside, got dressed, and traded the home defense pistol for my Everyday Carry (EDC) gun and a handheld flashlight. I did not want a gun in my hand when the police arrived, ‘less chance of a misunderstanding,' I thought.
The police were there when I walked back out. One officer was questioning him while the other was checking the perimeter.
Out front, I noticed his car. He had driven entirely up Jason's long, steep, wooded driveway and parked his SUV nearly on his front porch. With the hazard lights still on. Jason came out and was back to his usual calm demeanor. We compared notes and listened to proceedings.
Have you thought about how you would respond in similar circumstances? What about if you were the homeowner?
There are too many topics to list here, but this page explains all that is included in this fantastic course.
I realized the man wasn't thinking clearly. Something convinced him he was at the hotel where the wedding party was staying. I didn't detect slurred speech, and he wasn't staggering. Something more than just alcohol, I deduced. When I finished my clinical work the next day, I walked next door and handed Jason a copy of this month's Concealed Carry magazine.
‘Start here.' I said.
‘Home invasion edition, perfect.' He laughed, looking at the cover.
I also gave him the business card of my home security monitoring company and the window tint company I had just contracted to install shatter-proof film on my windows.
I went back home. I told my wife, ‘All of those training sessions at the range just paid for themselves.' She wondered why I was ‘suddenly into guns.' I don't think she wonders anymore. I think she appreciates now that it is a lifestyle and not just a hobby.
In reflection, a few critical elements had to come together for a positive outcome from the situation.
First of these was the ability to be instantly awake from a deep sleep and process critical information in a short time. Thanks to my surgical training for that.
The second had to do with me having the proper equipment. The right firearm is the one you can access quickly in an emergency. This situation reinforced what Concealed Carry said about home invasions. A loud dog and a flashlight go a long way in the middle of the night.
Last but not least was proper training. I had recently completed Dave Harrington's Effective Gunfighting course. The principles covered gave me the confidence that I could assess the situation and respond appropriately.
It also raised a lot of questions about alternative scenarios and how to handle them best.
Some examples are-
- How do you approach a home invasion scenario with a tactical partner?
- How do I engage a threat without putting myself and my wife at risk?
- Does one person stay inside?
- Does she stay at my side?
- Is she armed as well?
- What if there are multiple threats?
- What should you do if the person isn't compliant?
- What if they are not compliant but don't pose an immediate threat to my life?
Talking through the scenarios, my wife decided she would handle the non-lethal solution. So I've purchased a Taser for her nightstand.
There is a local instructor who conducts a home safety consultation complete with a mock invasion. We will definitely sign up for that class.
Thanks to our readers who take the time to share their experiences. While every situation is unique, we can always learn general hot-to principles that we can use to increase the odds of us responding appropriately.
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